Yemen

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Scaling up response after Ma’rib, Shabwah and Al Bayda escalation
  • Civilians faced with rising violence in Yemen
  • Aid must be sustained to avoid a return to near famine
  • Restoring agriculture livelihoods
  • Women and girls’ protection needs urgent, but resources are limited
Yemen Humanitarian Update No. 10, October 2021
Al Jufinia settlement in Ma’rib Governorate is home to thousands of displaced people. Photo: OCHA/ Giles Clarke

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Yemen

Situation Report

Key Figures

20.7M
People in Need
12.1M
People in Acute Need
4M
Displaced People

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Contacts

Sajjad Sajid

Head of Office

Tapiwa Gomo

Head of Communication

Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response
Aid agencies are scaling up response in Ma’rib, reaching thousands of families with urgent life-saving assistance. Photo by UNFPA.
Aid agencies are scaling up response in Ma’rib, reaching thousands of families with urgent life-saving assistance. Photo by UNFPA.

Scaling up response after Ma’rib, Shabwah and Al Bayda escalation

Humanitarian partners are scaling up response to the rapidly changing situation in parts of Ma’rib, Shabwah and Al Bayda governorates, where escalating hostilities since early September have induced civilian casualties, renewed displacements and further restricted civilians’ movements as well as humanitarian organizations’ access to people in need.

Between 1 and 23 October, more than 1,130 families (more than 6,700 people) were displaced in Ma’rib Governorate, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). More than half of these fled to Ma’rib City, about 24 per cent went to safer areas of Al Jubah District and another 22 per cent to Ma’rib Al Wadi. Some were displaced to Sirwah and Jabal districts. In September, nearly 10,000 people were displaced in Ma’rib Governorate – the highest displacement rate recorded in the governorate in a single month this year. Overall, over 55,000 people have been displaced in Ma’rib between January and September this year.

While hostilities are complicating response efforts, aid organizations have continued to deliver life-saving assistance. Inter-agency coordination efforts are focused on facilitating access and scaling up response, especially for southern Ma’rib Governorates’ Al Abdiyah District, which is among the areas most severely affected by these escalations. Initial aid supplies have been delivered to the area; registration and distribution activities in the affected area have begun, as well as efforts to understand the scope of needs.

“We are forward-deploying into the area a lot of supplies, food, medicine but also rapid response kits that provide basic necessities for those who are displaced,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Mr. David Gressly. Some 122 metric tons (MT) of food were delivered to assist nearly 2,500 families (17,400 people) in Al Abdiyah District as part of September rations. Since the third week of October, partners started general food distribution in Al Juba as part of October rations. More food aid distributions are expected in other areas. Food partners support nearly 950,000 people across Ma’rib, Shabwah and Al Bayda governorates.

Medical supplies have reached parts of Ma’rib, Shabwah and Al Bayda governorates. The Alshaheed Ali Abdulmogni Hospital which was partially damaged due to an attack on 12 October, resumed operations on 20 October. The damage was severe, requiring repairs and new medical equipment. The hospital is also severely understaffed following the attack. Essential medical equipment, supplies and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) were delivered to the hospital on 25 October. The need for medical supplies is also urgent in Al Abdiyah District, whose population includes more than 1,000 pregnant women requiring maternal health services.

The Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) teams were able to reach Al-Abdiyah District on 20 October and registration of beneficiaries commenced in Qania subdistrict. The first batch of 2,000 RRM kits was delivered and distributions are ongoing in Al Abdiyah District with more RRM teams expected to be deployed shortly. The second batch of 2,000 RRM kits have been moved from Sana’a to a warehouse in Qania which is closer to Alabdiyah and these will cater for those stranded in the district. RRM teams distributed in-kind packages of hygiene items, immediate ready-to-eat food rations and female dignity/transit kits. These cater for urgent needs of displaced families for 5 to 7 days.

In areas hosting displaced populations, response teams have also scaled up response providing shelter, cash, food baskets, soap, buckets, mosquito nets and other essential items to newly displaced people in 64 sites hosting close to 27,000 households. WASH teams have been trucking in water, building latrines and distributing hygiene items in areas within five to ten kilometers from the frontlines. More than 250 families newly displaced from Harib, Ragawan, Rehaba and Juba districts to Ma’rib City and Ma’rib Al Wadi have also received relief items, while health teams, including six mobile medical clinics, are on the ground providing emergency health care services and have re-stocked local clinics and hospitals with necessary supplies in displacement sites and in areas where people are sheltering with host communities.

Aid organizations continue to conduct assessment missions to affected areas in the three governorates, to assess the security situation, meet partners and explore humanitarian needs and on-theground capacities to deliver assistance where it is needed.

Mr. Gressly, accompanied by the Secretary of the General Supreme of the Council for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (SCMCHA), together with OCHA, UNFPA and UNICEF leadership in Yemen, conducted a three-day mission to Al Abdiyah District of Ma’rib Governorate. Part of the objective of the mission was to facilitate sustained access and movement for humanitarian workers to the Al Bayda Governorate and neighboring affected districts where priority needs have been identified.

Active hostilities, the presence of landmines, insecurity, poor road infrastructure within sub-districts of Al Abdiyah continue to impede timely delivery of aid to some areas. Poor telecommunication network coverage is also affecting the ability of response teams to effectively coordinate response.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Feature
civilian casualties

Civilians faced with rising violence in Yemen

The civilian population in Yemen continues to bear the brunt of the conflict, which is now in its seventh year. Escalations in military hostilities, clashes between rival armed groups, and pervasive unexploded remnants of war (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IED) are causing the death and injury of children, women and men across Yemen, and disrupting lives and livelihoods. In a briefing on 19 October, UNICEF noted that 10,000 children have been killed in Yemen since March 2015 – equivalent to four children each day – while many more child deaths and injuries are unrecorded.

Armed violence resulted in 529 civilian casualties in Yemen during the third quarter of 2021, according to the latest Civilian Impact Monitoring Project (CIMP) quarterly report . These are a direct result of armed violence between July and September, and include 170 civilian fatalities and 359 civilian injuries. The third quarter civilian casualties included 70 children and 41 women. 4 The highest monthly civilian casualty count during the third quarter was in September, when 233 civilian casualties were reported, including 67 civilian fatalities, the second highest monthly totals in each case this year. This is an average of nearly eight civilian casualties per day in September – the second highest figure in two years. In the third quarter, Small Arms Fire (SAF) was responsible for 203 civilian casualties, including 93 fatalities, up from 148 during the second quarter in 2021. Cross border hostilities resulted in Sa’dah Governorate seeing more civilian casualties than any other governorate with some 136 civilian casualties reported in the third quarter, including 38 civilian fatalities.

Remnant explosive ordnances caused the greatest toll among children over the third quarter. Armed violence resulted in 70 casualties among children in the last quarter, including 17 fatalities. This marks a decrease from 121 child casualties during the second quarter. Remnant explosive ordnances, including landmines and UXO, collectively resulted in 61 per cent of the 43 child casualties reported during the third quarter: almost two thirds. Almost half of these child casualties -18- were reported in Al Hodeidah. Lack of risk awareness due to lack of funding, coupled with heightened inquisitiveness and increased mobility, including in more remote areas that may not have seen clearance efforts, drive the vulnerability of children to harm from remnant explosive ordnances. The Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) clears an average of 3 million square meters per year in Yemen, benefiting an average of 3 million people per annum – 2 million through mine clearance and surveys and a million via explosive ordnances risk education (EORE). Yet clearing alone is not enough, especially as hostilities persist. Humanitarian partners continue to call on parties to the conflict to uphold the obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and to exercise caution, including by refraining from using explosive weapons and landmines in densely populated areas.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Aid must be sustained to avoid a return to near famine

Aid agencies in Yemen continue to scale up response efforts despite limited financial resources, the COVID-19 pandemic, a challenging operating environment and a deteriorating humanitarian situation due to escalating hostilities and a perpetually declining economy.

With $2.1 billion received by the end of October, aid agencies have been able to resume full food rations to some of the most food insecure Yemenis in 2021 as donors stepped up with $1.2 billion for food assistance. The funding came at a critical time as it helped to temporarily curb and push back the risk of famine and to scale up nutrition intervention.

Aid agencies are conducting countrywide needs assessments to understand the most pressing humanitarian needs across sectors in Yemen and the results will provide valuable information for strategiclevel decision-making including funding requirements for 2022.

Additional funds are required to maintain assistance for the next six months – and protect the gains made thus far. Without additional funding, five million people may soon see cuts in food assistance by the end of the year, rising to 7.5 million people in early 2022.

In addition, key humanitarian response sectors – including health, WASH, shelter, camp management and protection – are struggling to meet needs. All of these sectors have received less than 20 per cent of needed funds. By August, over 3.4 million people were reached with WASH services, health cluster partners assisted 528,235 people, while 771,307 people received nutrition treatment.

While donors have pledged additional resources towards the humanitarian response at the Yemen High-Level Side Event at 76th United Nations General Assembly in September , only 55 per cent of the $3.85 billion required for 2021 has been provided by the end of October. Donors are urged to disburse pledges and provide additional funding to enable partners to sustain the current level of response until the end of the year.

During his media briefing in Geneva on 11 October, Mr. Gressly reiterated the importance of sustaining the aid operation, unlocking the economy and stopping the war. “We cannot reverse what’s happening in Yemen without a political settlement, without a ceasefire. As long as the conflict continues, we are going to continue to see massive humanitarian needs in Yemen. That is just the reality. We would like to see otherwise,” he told the media in Geneva.

With some 20.7 million people in need of assistance and protection, Yemen remains at high risk of descending into a deeper crisis. Unprecedented levels of humanitarian assistance helped to avert famine and other disasters in recent years, yet the underlying drivers of the crisis persist. As the armed conflict continues to escalate alongside the waning economy, vulnerable populations are increasingly unable to cope. Aid agencies are conducting country-wide humanitarian needs assessments to enable the understanding of the most pressing humanitarian needs across sectors in Yemen and the results will provide valuable information for strategic-level decision-making including funding requirements for 2022.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Feature
FAO
Abdulrahman on his way to plant a new tree. Photo: FAO

Restoring agriculture livelihoods

Abdurrahman Hassan Farhan Gird is a 27-year-old farmer and a father of two from Wadi Nakhlah, Maqbana District in Ta’iz Governorate of Yemen. Over the past seven years, Abdurrahman’s ability to maintain his livelihood and put food on the table has been threatened by a combination of factors aggravated by the ongoing conflict.

Economic deterioration, damages to vital irrigation infrastructure, his dependency on inefficient irrigation methods and the vulnerability of his land to the impact of flooding, left him in constant fear of the future. As a coping strategy, Abdurrahman built rudimentary and relatively costly dams to protect his land and crops from floods. Yet, seasonal flooding continued to flush away his land, crops and hopes in a blink of an eye.

With support from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme and the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Yemen implemented the “Smallholder agricultural production restoration and enhancement” project. The project supported vulnerable small scale farming households across Yemen through financing community initiatives to increase smallholders’ production, income and food security. In Abdurrahman’s village, the project constructed and rehabilitated floodwalls and irrigation canals, enabling Abdurrahman to sustainability irrigate and protect his flood-prone land from erosion.

“We have benefited greatly from this project. Most importantly, through the protection of our land from soil erosion. The construction of irrigation canals has saved us a lot of trouble and money…we can now irrigate our land any time, as these canals have improved the availability of water, unlike in the past,” said Abdurrahman.

According to Abdurrahman, the project has given a new lease of life to farmers in his community and renewed their hopes. They can now confidently invest in their land and help their communities persevere during the crisis. The project supported 157,000 households between August 2017 and June 2021. Out of these, 22,660 families like Abdurrahman’s benefited from strengthened land and water management to address water scarcity and mitigate the impact of flooding.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Background
women needs

Women and girls’ protection needs urgent, but resources are limited

Women and girls are among the most vulnerable in Yemen. The conflict and its drivers are making an already dire situation worse for the protection and rights of women and girls. An estimated 6.1 million women in Yemen are in urgent need of protection services.

The protection needs are even more severe for women and girls who are displaced. An estimated 73 per cent of the over 4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Yemen are women and children. With limited shelter options, displaced women and girls tend to suffer most from lack of privacy, threats to safety and limited access to basic services, making them even more vulnerable to violence and abuse. The loss of a male breadwinner due to the conflict adds to the economic burden women face. Approximately 30 per cent of displaced households are now headed by women, compared to 9 per cent before the escalation of the conflict in 2015. The challenges are compounded by rising food prices, instigated by a sharp devaluation of the Yemeni riyal and a collapsing economy.

Recent trend analyses indicate an increasing number of women and girls engaging in negative coping mechanisms in order to survive. An increase in the incidence of violence among women and girls has also been reported, likely exacerbated by COVID-19. In 2020, despite severe underreporting, demand for women protection services increased by 37 per cent.

A study by UNFPA Women’s Refugee Commission and John Hopkins University across three governorates in Yemen provides evidence of an increase in child marriages among displaced populations; with 1 in 5 displaced girls aged 10 to 19 being married, compared to 1 in 8 girls in the host community. According to the same study, negative maternal health outcomes were also experienced by married girls. Other possible negative coping mechanisms include coerced sex work, begging, child labour and human trafficking, and attempted suicide, among others.

The collapse of public institutions, the legal system and informal protection mechanisms has translated into scarcity of support services for women and girls. Public services for survivors of violence such as shelter for those requiring protection, psychosocial support and emergency cash support for basic protection are almost non-existent. In addition, available services are not equipped logistically to accommodate the needs of women and girls with disabilities, who are at an even greater risk of genderbased violence in their communities.

A few humanitarian actors are providing women protection services in the country at present. They rely on donor funding to remain functional. Yet, women protection programmes are among the most underfunded. In 2020, 350,000 women lost access to gender-based violence services following the closure of 12 women and girls’ safe spaces due to the lack of funding. As of October 2021, only 54 per cent of the $27 million required for women protection programmes under the 2021 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan has been received.

It remains urgent that services for women’s protection- which include medical assistance, psychosocial support, emergency shelter, legal assistance and specialized psychosocial mental health - are up-scaled to meet growing needs, while expanding geographical coverage and strengthening capacities for service providers. In addition, supporting the social and economic empowerment of displaced women and girls, especially female-headed households through cash assistance, skills building and livelihood opportunities is also essential to reduce their vulnerabilities and engagement in negative coping mechanisms.

The lack of women’s protection services would mean that women and girls will continue to suffer in silence. A woman who has suffered violence and has not received any medical or psychosocial services is, at worst, at risk of death.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Yemen COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Update

Since the roll-out of Yemen’s first COVID-19 vaccination campaign on 20 April 2021, a total of 324,098 persons have received the AstraZeneca vaccine. Of this number, 227,182 persons have received one dose, and 96,916 persons have received two doses. In addition, 96,013 persons have received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine. This brings the total number of fully immunized persons to 192,929 as of 25 October 2021.

Nearly all of Yemen’s COVID-19 vaccinations have taken place in Government of Yemen-controlled areas in the south. In areas under the control of the de facto authorities in the north, only healthcare workers have been vaccinated (140 fully and 3,132 partially). Health partners are doing all they can to mitigate and address the spread of COVID-19 while safeguarding the existing health system from collapse. However, the current rate of vaccinations is far from sufficient to contain the spread of the disease. A third surge in COVID-19 cases and associated deaths which began in mid-July is currently waning, and closely followed the second wave between mid-February and early June this year.

As of 29 October, 9,773 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in areas in the south, including 1,877 deaths and 6,358 recoveries. These figures greatly underestimate community spread, given the lack of testing capacities across the country, and also exclude cases in areas in the north.

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